The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Swim Lessons University Cyber Week Savings

Whether you’re an aquatic director, swim school owner, or swimming instructor–IF you’re looking for Cyber Week savings–you found it!   Most everything on the Swim Lessons University website is 20% OFF all week!

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To Swim Instructor Tools:
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To your success!

Jim Reiser, Executive Director
www.swimlessonsuniversity.com
1-866-498-SWIM (7946)

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November 29, 2016 at 2:08 am Comments (0)

How to Teach Breaststroke to Beginners

Here’s an inside look at Jim Reiser teaching one of his new students the breaststroke.  As you can see, his student is just in the beginning phases of learning the stroke.  Coach Reiser will not only use good verbal cues and specific, corrective feedback, he also incorporates kinesthetic teaching methods so Austin can “feel” what he needs to do in order to swim the stroke correctly.  Let’s take a peak:

If you would like to learn more about How to Teach the Breaststroke or the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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November 21, 2016 at 4:59 am Comments (0)

Demonstration Tips for Swimming Instructors

When giving demonstrations in your learn-to-swim classes, there are a number of critical factors that should be taken into consideration. In fact, numerous studies have been conducted to support the following demonstration considerations:

  • Status of the model (Landers and Landers, 1973)
  • When the model should begin demonstrating (McCullagh, Weis, and Ross, 1989)
  • Correctness of the demonstration (Landers and Landers, 1973)
  • Observing incorrect demonstrations (Weir & Leavitt, 1990)
  • Frequency of demonstrations (Sidaway 1992)

My goal in this blog/video on demonstrations, however, is to focus in on how the age and skill level should influence your demonstration.

Here are a Few Demonstration Guidelines:

Young Beginners (Swim 101):

      • Limit your demonstrations (one or two is sufficient).
      • Have them seated on a step or bench (keep them in the water).
      • Perform your demonstrations toward the students so you can see them at all times.

Stroke-Ready (Swim Strokes 201) or school aged beginners(Swim 102/103):

  • Limit your demonstrations (one or two is sufficient).
  • Keeping your students safety in mind, you may want these students to stand so they get a better look at what you are demonstrating (Standing gives them a higher vantage point which may be helpful).
  • Keeping safety in mind (each class is different), providing your students a look at the skill from different angles can be especially helpful (see video embedded below).

Advanced Strokes (Advanced Swim Strokes 300 or Lifesaving Strokes 400):

  • Provide a third demonstration if you feel it would be helpful and that you still have your student’s attention
  • Keeping your students safety in mind, you may want these students to stand so they get a better look at what you are demonstrating (Standing gives them a higher vantage point which may be helpful).
  • Keeping safety in mind (each class is different), providing your students a look at the skill from different angles can be especially helpful (see video embedded below).

Three More Helpful Tips for ALL Ages and Skill Levels:

  1. Don’t just demonstrate when a skill is new.   Demonstrate anytime you feel that feedback alone isn’t getting the job done. “Seeing it” again can be huge!
  2. Make sure that you are performing the skill correctly.       Students are very good at replicating what they see (right or wrong).
  3. Compare and contrast. Show the skill correctly vs. the skill incorrectly vs. the skill correctly again.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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November 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm Comments (0)

Swim Lesson Games for Breath Control: “Whack-a-Mole!”

Have you ever seen the “Whack-a-Mole” game at Chuck E. Cheese’s?   That’s where I got the  idea for “Whack-a-Mole” in the pool!  The children like when I pretend to be a “grumpy old man” (I’m really not :-)and they pretend to be the moles.    As you can see below, the kids really love it.  In fact, it is one of my most requested games from my Swim 102 and Swim Strokes 200 level students!

SAFETY NOTE:  As you can see in the video, all you have to do to make “your club” is simply slide the foam from one end of the barbell next to the other.  Even though the barbell is made of foam, I strongly recommend that you hit the water to the right or left of where the child goes underwater to be sure you don’t actually hit anyone!   This safety precaution also actually makes this swim lesson game even more fun because you can hit the water harder–making more noise and adding to the excitement . . . for the kids of course!

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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November 5, 2016 at 8:14 pm Comments (0)

Halloween Swim Lessons Games for Beginners

Would you like a fun, breath holding activity for your beginners with a Halloween theme? Give this one a try!

While this a seasonal activity, it is perfectly adequate to utilize in the Breath Holding part of the Swim Lessons University Swim 101 Lesson Plan.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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October 30, 2016 at 1:01 am Comments (0)

Halloween Swim Lesson Games

Halloween is just around the corner, so I wanted to share an activity I created called the “Haunted Island.”   I use it mainly during “In-line/prone kick” skill since it’s a simple skill that doesn’t require a lot of feedback.  In other words, when I get to the part of the lesson where we are working on the freestyle/front crawl (I combined a Swim 102 student with a Swim Strokes 201 student), I can get back to giving the children more specific, corrective feedback to ensure the class is both INSTRUCTIONAL and FUN!
I think that you will find that when you teach perpetual swim lessons (weekly lessons vs. sessions), theme-based activities and games are extremely valuable to keep the monotony out of the lessons.  Of course, it is equally important that you don’t lose sight of the skills that your students need to learn in the curriculum.

At any rate, here is an activity/game for the in-line kick that we call “The Haunted Island!”  I hope you and your students have as much fun with it as we did!

While this a seasonal activity, it is perfectly adequate to utilize in the In-line Kick part of the Swim Lessons University Lesson Plan.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Instructor Certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

For more information on the Swim Lessons University Swim Instructor Training or our Online Swim Instructor Certification courses, check us out on the web or call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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October 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm Comments (0)

Private Swimming Lesson Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Have you ever taught a private swimming lesson? Have you ever needed a couple activities in your back pocket to add some fun and variety to the lesson?  Here’s a couple quick ideas that you could try in your toddler or preschool swim lessons:

While these aren’t regular activities that are part of our curriculum, they are certainly great “fillers” that can keep your private swim lessons fun and upbeat, or something you can throw in for a change of pace.  As you could see, this little toddler absolutely loved “The Motorboat Song” and the little tosses up in the air!

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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October 27, 2016 at 1:51 am Comments (0)

Breath Control Game for Swimming Lessons

Writing about this activity has  “I Saw Esau,”  playing over and over in my head, a song made famous by the Ames Brothers in 1956!  At any rate, if you’re looking for a fun breath control game for swimming lessons that will take the monotony out of your rhythmic bobs, your learn to swim students will certainly enjoy this one:

This is not an activity for true beginners, as children would need to have some basic air exchange skills as a prerequisite for this activity.   It would work perfectly, however,  in the Swim Lessons University Swim Strokes 201 or 202 Lesson Plan though for sure!

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com    Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

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October 18, 2016 at 3:07 am Comments (0)

Freestyle Kick Games for Kids

Do your students ever get bored, or even lazy while you’re having them practice their freestyle kick in swim lessons? Here’s a fun little game you can incorporate called “Cat and Mouse” that has proven to be both MOTIVATIONAL and FUN! 

For more detailed instructions on “How to Teach the Freestyle and Backstroke,” check out our “SWIM STROKES 201/202/203” video course!

You can even become a Swim Lessons University CERTIFIED SWIMMING INSTRUCTOR to teach the “Swim Strokes 201/202/203” class through our ONLINE SWIM INSTRUCTOR TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES!

The Swim Lessons University Instructor certification is an internationally recognized alternative to the Red Cross WSI. And when you utilize SLU, you can even SPECIALIZE to teach in specific courses or you can certify to teach then all! Best of all, when you choose Swim Lessons University you can do all your training in the comfort of your own home, at your pace, and at a fraction of the cost!

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October 5, 2016 at 2:38 am Comments (0)

Tips for Sport Parents and Youth Coaches

DON’T Tell Your Kid: “Do Your Best!”

“Do your best” is an overused, inaccurate cliché.  What we really mean to say is “Try your best.”  When it comes to performance in sports, sport psychologist Dr. Alan Goldberg cites that athletes, coaches, and sport parents should emphasize the “controllables” and take emphasis off the “uncontrollables” (U.C.’s).

Here are two examples:

  • To win is a “U.C.” You can “try to win,” but you won’t always win even when you “do your best.”  You have no control over the competition, the conditions, the officials, etc.  Winning is a “U.C.”
  • To have a best performance is a “U.C.” You can “try to perform your best,” but that doesn’t ensure that you’ll “do your best,” i.e., an all-time best game, a best performance or even a good one.

VARIOUS SPORT “UC’s:

Swimming – Swimming a personal best time every event or winning a race.

Basketball – Making every lay-up or scoring 20 points every game.

Baseball – Fielding every ball hit your way, never striking out, or pitching a perfect game.

Soccer – Scoring on every shot attempt, never turning the ball over, etc.

What is controllable?  Simply “trying your best.”   I’ve been coaching and observing youth sports for 30+ years.  Here’s what I CAN’T say:

I can’t say that I have ever seen a swimmer race and try to lose.   I can’t say I’ve ever seen a basketball player try to miss a lay-up.   I can’t say that I have ever seen a baseball player try to make an error or strike out.   I can’t say that I have ever seen a soccer player intentionally miss a shot on goal!

My seven-year old’s baseball coach recently made him run a lap for missing a ground ball.  Do you think this is the best coaching practice to encourage improvement or to get a player to correct an error?  Consider this:  He didn’t try to miss the ground ball.   He is a young boy in his first year of organized baseball boy just learning to field groundballs.   Lastly, my son genuinely wants to please the coach–not let the coach down.

So how should the coach have responded to the error?  Instead of making him run a lap, the coach could have responded with one of two forms of feedback:  1. A correction that would help the young player identify why he misfielded the ball.  2. Give positive feedback to encourage him and communicate that he, the coach, believes in his young shortstop.  This would give the coach’s player the confidence to get the next one…but have a seven-year old run a lap for missing a ground ball?  Fear-based correction doesn’t work with young children.  Quite the contrary, fear-based correction scares kids, breaks down their confidence, and makes them feel unsure of their abilities.

Now if my son said, “Hey coach!  You’re just a BIG BUTT and you don’t know how to coach!”  That’s a reason to make him run a lap!  But that’s not what happened.  This was simply a seven-year old child who misfielded a ground ball as he was “trying his best.”

As a sport parent to three sons and as a third generation, educated coach–it pains me to see children being punished, hollered at, and belittled for making mistakes.  Young athletes don’t intend to disappoint us.  They don’t try to make mistakes.  They don’t try to lose games.  They are actually “trying their best.”  Do they always perform at their best?  No.  But neither do professional athletes!   All we should expect from any athlete is that they work hard, that they listen to their coaches, and that they try to correct mistakes when given the appropriate constructive feedback.

As sport parents and youth coaches we need to encourage our young athletes when they make mistakes–not punish them, belittle them or give them consequences and ultimatums.    Save those strategies for when they exhibit bad behavior, disrespect adults, or say mean things to their teammates—but not for making a human mistake while “trying their best.”  Ironically, the same coaches and parents are the ones who are baffled when a kid doesn’t want to go to practice or wants to quit.

The Positive Coaches Alliance (PCA) has created coping mechanism tools like “Flush it” to help athletes forget about mistakes.   In his book “Winning Every Day,” legendary football coach Lou Holtz discussed an acronym he called “W.I.N.” which stands for “What’s Important Now.” W.I.N. reminds players to stay positive and in the “now” not focus on any negative in the past.  When you’re thinking about a mistake you’re not helping yourself or your team in the present.  In football, the great defensive backs don’t remember getting beat for a TD until they see it on film the next day.   All the great ones develop an ability to stay in the now and focus on the task at hand.

In addition, athletes who focus on performance goals vs. outcome goals are almost always more successful.   An example of a coach who kept his team focused on performance goals vs. outcome goals is Legendary UCLA Basketball coach John Wooden.   It is well-known that the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I Basketball history NEVER talked about winning to his teams!  Yet we have Little League and Pop Warner coaches emphasizing the importance of winning the next game at every practice.

If you want to teach a kid to become a winner, you have to teach him how to use failure and adversity in order to achieve success.  You have teach him how to persevere and work through mistakes and failure, not fear them.  One of the greatest basketball players of all-time, Michael Jordan, sums this up perfectly in “Why I Succeed:”

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Instead of “hitting them when their down” youth coaches and sport parents need to encourage our young athletes when things don’t go their way.  More than ever this is the time they need reassurance.  This is the time they have to hear that we believe in them.   We have to teach them the great trait and characteristic called perseverance so they learn HOW to overcome adversity–NOT fear it.   Babe Ruth once said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next homerun.”

Personally I am thankful for my son’s coach and I admire anyone who unselfishly volunteers their personal time for our youth.  We wouldn’t have youth sports without them.  But I also challenge the leaders of sport organizations like Little Leagues, YMCAs, and Recreation Departments to make sure that those volunteer coaches spend some of their volunteer time on coaching education.

The American Sport Education Program (ASEP) has a great slogan, “Athletes first, winning second.”   When ASEP’s says “athletes first,” they are referring to coaching kids in a manner that puts their psychological and emotional well-being ahead of all else.

When your athlete is confident in himself because of your coaching–that’s when you know that you have really made a difference.  As the New York Yankee great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”

This is true in all sports.   Youth sport coaches must understand that while we are teaching physical skill, developing our athletes confidence is equally important, if not more important than the physical skill itself.

So the next time you are tempted to say “Do Your Best,” remember it’s “TRY YOUR BEST…” and you’ll be doing a much better job at teaching young athletes to feel and become successful!

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September 21, 2016 at 1:02 am Comments (0)

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